Celebrating 145 Years!

St. John’s UCC will celebrate its 145th anniversary on Sunday, September 9.  The celebration begins with the 10:30 a.m. worship service and continues with a prepared luncheon in Opperman Hall following the worship service.  Current and former members, as well as previous pastors, are invited to this special occasion.  More information will be forthcoming.

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The Walls of Jericho…

The walls of Jericho may have come tumbling down, but our chimney will not!  Over time, the weather has taken its toll on the mortar holding the bricks together on the church chimney.  We could not renew our insurance policy unless it was repaired. There were also 23 slate tiles replaced on the roof.

To repair the chimney and roof, our church contracted with Lee Construction Company from Delphos, Ohio.  The chimney could not be removed because it is the exhaust system for the boilers.  The cost of the repairs was approximately $6,000, and almost half of the money received came from special donations.

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Samaritan’s Purse: ‘It’s Christ Who Is at Work Here’ Pastor Ramon Rodriguez, Puerto Rico

Excerpts from Franklin Graham’s June Update:

Reverend Franklin Graham reports that eight months after last September’s hurricanes, our neighbors in the Caribbean are still hurting. Parts of Puerto Rico remain in the dark with no power. Only a few hundred people have been able to return to the island of Barbuda.  Countless houses are still waiting for rebuilt roofs and other repairs.

Samaritan’s Purse has teams deployed on four islands to repair or rebuild up to 3,000 houses and over 100 churches. This is one of the largest reconstruction projects the organization has ever attempted.  Our helicopter remains busy delivering generators and essentials to corners of Puerto Rico that still lack power.

In one Puerto Rican community, Pastor Ramon Rodriguez requested a stove and refrigerator for a couple whose wooden house was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.  The homeowner is a grandfather who said, “I have no money or no way to pay you.”  Pastor Ramon responded, “You don’t have to pay me.  This is a gift from people who are serving in the Name of Jesus.  It’s Christ who loves you, and it’s Christ who is at work.”

Many of the churches have continued to worship faithfully every Sunday, even though their roofs are gone and they have no way to rebuild.  On the island of St. Martin, Hurricane Irma destroyed the roof at the New Testament Bible Church.  The pastor’s home was also destroyed.  He and his family lived in the basement of the ruined sanctuary.  He prayed for help, and on a Wednesday in mid-January, members gathered in the roofless sanctuary to pour out their hearts to God and to ask Him to supply their needs.  In a matter of weeks Samaritan’s Purse crews came and were able to replace the church roof, enabling the congregation to once again gather for worship and resume their outreach programs in their city.

Thank you for your prayers for everyone in the Caribbean.  Samaritan’s Purse will continue their work on the islands for months to come–as well as in Texas, where Samaritan’s Purse volunteers are busy helping up to 1,000 families get back into their homes which were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

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Heifer Mission Project Update

The 2018 Mission Project sponsored by the Board of Christian Education is Heifer International.  Donations from January through April total $1223.18.  Monthly birthday money helping to support this project is $521.95, and the Lenten offering boxes totaled $701.23.

Here is the list of donated animals thus far:  flock of chickens $20.oo; honeybees $30.00; trio of rabbits $60.00; one llama $150.00; one heifer $500.00; sheep $120.00; goat $120.00; pig $120.00; ducks $20.00; tree seedlings $60.00.  Our current project is to contribute enough money for a water buffalo which is $250.00.

Thanks to everyone for your generous support of this most worthwhile project.


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Summer Hours Begin Sunday, June 3, 2018

St. John’s UCC begins its summer hours for Sunday School and Worship on Sunday, June 3.  Adult Sunday School classes begin at 9:00 a.m., and Worship begins at 10:00 a.m.  Children’s hour takes place during the worship service hour.  The summer schedule remains in place through Labor Day Sunday, September 2, 2018.

All are welcome to participate in Sunday School and Worship at St. John’s UCC which is located at the corner of College Avenue and Jackson Street in Bluffton, Ohio.

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Landscaping Project at St. John’s UCC in Early June

St. John’s is on schedule to have shrubs and bushes removed and new plantings installed during early June.  Therefore, we will not be asking for our usual Mother’s Day flowers this year.  If you would like to make a contribution in honor/memory of your mother, please feel free to designate that money to help defray the cost of the landscaping.

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Food Pantry in Need of Supplies

You will notice that the food pantry shelves empty out quickly, especially after the third Saturday distribution takes place.  Out of our abundance, we need to meet the needs of others.  On a Sunday morning, open your cupboard door and pull out a can, box, jar of something and bring it in and place it on the table at the front of the sanctuary.  (Please check expiration dates before bringing in items.)  Thank you!

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This Week at St. John’s UCC

Centering Words for Sunday, June 24:  Almighty God, in your loving wisdom, you have made the weak strong.  Renew us within so that nothing we face around us can undermine our faith or cause our despair.  Calm all of the fears in our lives that surround us, and hold us fast in your love this day.  Amen.

Sunday, June 24–Worship 10:00 a.m.; Pastor Carol’s message is titled “We Are All in the Same Boat” and is based on Mark 4:35-41.  Many of the disciples were fishermen and well acquainted with the sea, but they were afraid of it because the sea seemed to be lawlessness itself.  When Jesus calms the chaotic forces of the sea, it is not merely a brute demonstration of power over nature, but a redemptive act in which the challenging forces of the sea, like other demons, are rebuked.  The purpose of the miracle is to rescue the disciples (and us) from fear and disorder.

Consistory meets after worship today.

Tuesday, June 26–Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.; TOPS, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, June 27–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, July 1–Communion served during worship

Thought for the DayHow will you know if your faith is weak or strong unless it is tried and tested?

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Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen

If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday,  July 24,  please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary.  Helpers are always welcome.

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Facebook Page

You are missing out on a super way to advertise our church if you are not sharing with many of your other Facebook friends St. John’s Facebook page.  There are many interesting articles posted every day.  “Friend” all of your friends and ask them to “Like” the St. John’s page–let’s let people know we are here, alive, and moving forward!

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